Should multiculturalists oppress the oppressed? On religion, culture and the individual and cultural rights of un-liberal communities

This essay investigates how a liberal state should treat violations of human rights within minority cultures. It is argued that the best approach gives due weight to the following three features: the free exercise of culture, protection of human rights and the balance of power between the majority and minority communities in a given polity. This balanced approach is contrasted with the theories of Kukathas, Okin and Spinner-Halev, who are criticised for concentrating on only the first, second and third of these features respectively. The Arab Israeli Plonit case and the Indian Muslim Shah Bano case are used to illustrate this argument. The Israeli treatment of Plonit shows the virtues of the author's preferred approach, while the Indian treatment of Shah Bano indicates the dangers of concentrating on the second feature alone, as many liberals advocate, and neglecting the other two
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DOI 10.1080/13698230410001702652
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